Pope Francis and pacifism: A perspective from Poland

The striking similarity of the course of the Russian invasion of Ukraine to the criminal activity of the German armed forces in Poland 83 years ago makes the attitude of unconditional pacifism promoted by Francis extremely difficult to defend.

A Ukrainian boy plays at the residence of Father Roman Karpowicz in Lubaczow, Poland, March 21, 2022. The Polish priest hosts women with children who fled Russia's war on Ukraine. (CNS photo/Kacper Pempel, Reuters)

The most recent statements of Pope Francis regarding the Russian military aggression against Ukraine must be causing bigger and bigger confusion not only among the faithful of the Catholic Church, but also among members of the general public witnessing the tragedy of the Ukrainian civilian population massacred by Russian soldiers.

While addressing the participants of the Congress of the Pontifical Foundation Gravissimum Educationis two weeks ago, the Pope said:

We think of so many soldiers who are sent to the front, very young, Russian soldiers, poor things. Let’s think of so many young Ukrainian soldiers, let’s think of the inhabitants, the young people, boys, girls… […] A war always — always! — is the defeat of humanity, always. We, the educated, who work in education, are defeated by this war because on one hand, we are responsible. There are no just wars: they do not exist! [Non esistono le guerre giuste: non esistono!]

Moments later, an even more controversial point was made in the Pope’s speech:

The common good is connected with love and cannot be defended by military force [non può essere difeso con la forza militare]. a community or nation that asserts itself by force [che voglia affermarsi con la forza] does so to the detriment of other communities and becomes a fomenter of injustice, inequality and violence.

Despite the attempts made by a number of commentators to explain Francis’ intriguingly vague attitude towards the ongoing Ukrainian defensive war by his being constrained — as Head of the Vatican State — to adhere to the standards of the language of diplomacy, the Pope’s statements from the last dozen or so days seem to accurately reflect his views. The encyclical “Fratelli Tutti”, published by Francis two years ago, discusses issues directly related to the morality of war.

In the first part of the document, in the passage entitled “War and death penalty”, the pope deals with challenges posed by contemporary armed conflicts. The climax of this fragment of the encyclical is a thesis that radically questions the centuries-old achievements of Christian moral philosophers poring over the possibility of justifying military action:

We can no longer think of war as a solution, because its risks will probably always be greater than its supposed benefits. In view of this, it is very difficult nowadays to invoke the rational criteria elaborated in earlier centuries to speak of the possibility of a “just war”. Never again war!

Although this apparent rejection of the moral permissibility of military action of any kind — whether it is taken by particular states or by international coalitions — is phrased in the context of a number of accurate observations about the unprecedented potential of modern military technologies, the sharpness of the anti-war message presented in the document promoting the official teaching of the Church makes it necessary to ask a question about its elementary meaning, independent of possible general interpretations of Francis’ turn towards pacifism. A question of this kind — critically urgent in the light of daily reports about hundreds of innocent victims of the war in Ukraine — is, essentially, a question about the plausibility of ius contra bellum — apparently understood by Francis as the culmination of Christian philosophical reflection on the phenomenon of war, so far developed around the three fundamental principles justifying military action: ius ad bellum, ius in bello and ius post bellum.

Providing a “Polish commentary” on the anti-war statements made by the Pope seems necessary for several reasons. The first is the long tradition of Polish participation in the shaping of the legal and ethical foundations of Christian approach to the issue of war.

Its starting point, still not fully appreciated (especially in Western literature) is the contribution by Polish theologian and legal scholar Paweł Włodkowic (Paul Vladimiri) to the Council of Constance in 1416. Referencing the dramatic circumstances of the military conflict between the then Kingdom of Poland and the State of the Teutonic Order (The Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem), the arguments of the representative of the Polish side in the parallel Polish-Teutonic legal and diplomatic dispute became a prefiguration of the theories of international law formulated later by leading European thinkers.

The universal significance of the manuscripts written by a canon of Płock over 600 years ago was emphasized in the second half of the twentieth century by Polish theorist of international law (who took up the subject of war in his own research) Ludwig Ehrlich, editor of The Selected Writings of Włodkowic, published in the 1960s. An important part of Włodkowic’s argument is devoted to highlighting the relationship between the moral assessment of individual involvement in an armed conflict and the righteousness of the cause one is fighting for. Categorical as this view was — and thus directly challenged in the contemporary (classic) version of just war theory, which promotes the principle of moral equality of all soldiers engaged in fighting on both sides of the frontline — it did take into account the complexity of situations of individuals subordinated to the decisions of political authorities:

only a subject is absolved from sin if he helps his lord: but here operates the link of obedience’ to which obedience he is obliged. It is otherwise [i.e. there is no absolution — A.C] if he were sure that the war is unjust, or believed so with probability. […] Nor is one excused by the fear of losing temporal things, because while fear attenuates guilt, yet it does not entirely exclude it. (P. Włodkowic, Saevientibus, w: Ludwik Ehrlich (ed.), Selected Works of Paweł Włodkowic, 1968)

Definitive solution to the dilemma confronted earlier by St. Augustine, the idea of individual responsibility for the killing of people fighting for a just cause (in most cases appropriately diminished in view of the probable limitations of knowledge possessed by the rank-and-file combatants participating in an unjust war), was proclaimed again one hundred years after the Polish-Teutonic dispute — in the context of the colonial conquest of South America — by the Spanish Dominican Francisco de Vitoria, viewed today as one of the pioneers of modern just war theory.

According to the contemporary version of war ethics, which is almost universally accepted today, the criteria determining the moral permissibility of starting a war (ius ad bellum) are independent of the criteria specifying morally permissible conduct of military operations (ius in bello). The most important premise legitimizing the resort to military force in international relations (the main rule of ius ad bellum) is the need to defend the political sovereignty and territorial integrity of a state in the event of it becoming the victim of armed aggression. In contrast to a defensive war, military aggression against an independent state is morally unacceptable. All the combatants, regardless of the moral qualification of the objectives pursued by the party to the conflict they represent, are obliged to observe the norms of ius in bello. The most important among the latter is the absolute prohibition of deliberate attacks on civilians.

The classic version of war ethics — underlying most of today’s disputes over military conflicts — has its origins in the doctrine of the Catholic Church. This fact is clearly recognized by the most important contemporary thinker dealing with the morality of war, Michael Walzer, the author of the book Just and Unjust Wars. published in 1977. As Walzer puts it:

Just war theory is a Catholic creation. Every civilization and every religion has rules about war, about when to fight and how to fight, but as far as I know, no-one else produced a systematic theory. The full development of the theory comes in the later Middle Ages, and the writers working on the theory are working in a disputed, sometimes amorphous, middle ground between Christian pacifism and holy war. The critique of pacifism does not play much of a part in 15th century writings, nor in Vladimiri’s texts, but the critique of holy war is a central issue. I once believed that the decisive repudiation of holy war came with the Spanish Dominicans in the 16th century, writing about and sometimes against the conquest of the Americas. I was wrong; the decisive repudiation came at least a century earlier, in opposition to the wars of the Teutonic Knights. Or maybe earlier than that: Vladimiri cites many writers (including, frequently, Pope Innocent IV) from the preceding centuries.” (M. Walzer, Just War and Holy War: Again, Ethical Perspectives, 2017; for Walzer’s view on the Russian invasion of Ukraine see “The Just War of the Ukrainians”, WSJ, March 25, 2022).

Such a thorough embedment of just war theory in the tradition of Catholic social thought — confirmed by a prominent liberal intellectual — is another reason why in a country whose cultural identity is largely shaped by Roman Catholicism, a radical change in the Church doctrine regarding the possibility of justifying defensive wars should not be left without a response.

The third, and probably the most important, reason why it is necessary to formulate a Polish response to Francis’s “pacifist revolution” is the specific experience of the Polish political community in the last 250 years, including — for obvious reasons — the challenges it is facing today. The history of Poland in this period, together with the history of the entire region of Central and Eastern Europe in the last hundred years, vividly exemplified in Poland’s history since World War I, can by no means be omitted in the debate over the Pope’s attempt to restore Christian pacifism (preached in antiquity by early Christian thinkers such as Tertullian and Lactantius). Francis’ rejection of the moral permissibility of military action should, on the one hand, be confronted with the hundred and fifty years of struggles first to defend, and then to restore, the Polish statehood barbarously annihilated by Poland’s neighbors in the years 1773-1795. As Norman Davies puts it:

The partitioning of Poland, effected in three stages in 1773, 1793, and 1795, was without precedent in modern European History. Although victorious powers habitually stripped their defeated rivals of territorial possessions and were not averse to dividing the spoils of India, America, or Africa, there is no other instance when they deliberately annihilated one of Europe’s historic states in cold blood. Poland was the victim of political vivisection — by mutilation, amputation, and in the end total dismemberment; and the only excuse given was that the patient had not been feeling well. (N. Davies, The God’s Playground. A History of Poland, 2005)

Importantly, a confrontation of this kind — at a slightly lower level of theological and moral generalizations, though (at least so far) in much more dramatic circumstances for the Poles — had its historical precedent in the dispute over Pope Gregory XVI’s encyclical “Cum primum”, condemning Poland’s November Uprising (a rebellion against the tzarist rule staged in 1830-31).

On the other hand, a question should be asked about the plausibility of the Pope’s proposal to completely abandon the use of military measures in defense of the common good, while taking into account the scale and scope of violence suffered in the first half of the twentieth century by tens of millions of inhabitants of the part of Europe designated a dozen years ago in Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, written by prominent American historian Timothy Snyder. With an enormous part of this violence inflicted on the defenseless citizens of the attacked and defeated Polish state — the violence which had been meticulously planned, and then systematically perpetrated by the administrative institutions of the aggressor states — the Poles (including the Polish Catholics comprising 92% of Poland’s population) seem to be expressly entitled to inquire into the reasons why the Pope calls in question (applying a classic mode of consequentialist reasoning!) the possibility of moral justification of military defense undertaken by invaded states. The striking similarity of the course of the Russian invasion of Ukraine to the criminal activity of the German armed forces in Poland 83 years ago makes the attitude of unconditional pacifism promoted by Francis extremely difficult to defend.

Paradoxically, the apparent abandonment by the Pope of the centuries-old tradition of the Church teaching about the morality of armed conflicts has its counterpart in the position on the war in Ukraine represented by the intellectual and political elites of the most powerful European country — the country bearing direct responsibility for the unprovoked outbreak and the barbarous course of World War II. The arguments raised by the German government from the very beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine about the need to “de-escalate” the conflict, combined with its initial refusal to ship military equipment to Ukraine, the attempts to sabotage this type of aid provided to Ukrainians on the eve of the war by other countries, and the ultimate failure to fulfill its own commitments in that regard made in the subsequent phases of the war, were to be interpreted — in accordance with the clues furnished by German politicians — as a manifestation of Germany’s deep-seated opposition to the phenomenon of war as such.

With the (temporary) rejection of some deeply troubling suspicions (raised again and again by a number of experts) about the purely cynical reasons for the Germans distancing themselves from the staunch defense of Ukraine by its citizens, a plausible alternative to the unreliable official interpretation of their attitude towards the war may be revealed by taking into account the actual level of knowledge possessed by German society about the course of World War II. A surprisingly selective nature of this knowledge is demonstrated by the facts referenced by German historian Jochen Böhler — the author of ground-breaking analyses of war crimes perpetrated systematically by the German Wehrmacht during the war against Poland in 1939 — in his paper delivered during the conference marking the 70th anniversary of Nazi Germany’s attack on Poland:

There is no study published in the German language on the participation of the German Luftwaffe in the war against Poland in 1939 and the intentional destruction of hundreds of Polish cities and towns carried out by the Nazi-German air force […] None of the historians has carefully considered the preparations for the war and the atmosphere in the German society in the weeks before and immediately after the attack; one won’t find any study of the role of the German minority in Poland at that time. […] We are faced with a surprising conclusion, namely that the war with Poland in 1939 and its significance for the entire WWII have been recognized in Germany as issues worth investigating only in recent years” (J. Bohler, Wojna z Polską w 1939 roku w historiografii zachodnioniemieckiej [The war with Poland in 1939 in West German historiography], w: Spojrzenie na Polski wrzesień 1939 roku [A perspective on the Polish September 1939], 2011).

Unfortunately, a very limited amount of knowledge about the atrocities experienced by the inhabitants of Central and Eastern Europe in 1939-1945, as well as the long years of the communist enslavement that followed the end of WWII in that region, can be attributed with a high degree of probability to the majority of Western societies.

In July 2016, Pope Francis made a momentous visit to the former German death camp in Auschwitz (the third pope to have done so). As emphasized by the world media reporting that event, a powerful testimony to its importance was the prayerful silence maintained by the Pope during the entire course of the visit. With the “mystery of evil” (misterium iniquitatis) manifesting itself so appallingly in places such as Auschwitz, a fully understandable plea made by Francis is that this evil should never happen again.

However, as news programs around the world have reminded their audiences in recent weeks, the evil of aggressive wars, and even the horrors of devastating wars — oftentimes only the first stage of systematic massacres of civilians perpetrated by the functionaries of the aggressor-states — haven’t been eliminated. The Christian just war theory is still the only coherent model of organized human action which can — with varying degrees of effectiveness — restrain war criminals. Giving testimony to the necessity of advocating just war as a morally commendable action remains a critical challenge — and not only for Polish historians and moral philosophers.

(Editor’s note: The Polish version of the article appeared on christianitas.org on March 22, 2022.)

If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.

About Adam Cebula, PhD 1 Article
Adam Cebula, PhD, is a lecturer in philosophy at Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw, Poland. His primary research interests involve ethics, political philosophy and philosophy of law. He is the author of several articles on just war theory.


  1. From Donum Vitae “God alone is the Master of life from its beginning until its end; no one under any circumstances can claim for himself the right to destroy directly an innocent human life.”

    Abortion is an act of violence upon the innocent, but even today as Christians, do we not still condone violence? The term ‘Just War’(Theory) continually shatters the reality of this teaching given by the Church.

    The teaching by the church on a Just War is nothing more than a minefield with regards to its application of justified murder. Can there be anything more perverse than giving the Holy Eucharist to opposing Christian soldiers just before going into battle against each other?

    Prior to Luke 22:36, we have Luke 22:35 Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you out without purse or bag or sandals, did you lack anything?” “Nothing, they answered”
    So, from now on we see the divide between the true believer/follower who trusts in God alone whereas those who rely on possessions need to protect them, as in

    Luke22;36 “But now, let him who has a purse take it, and likewise a bag. And let him who has no sword sell his mantle and buy one” and since the time of Christ, we see the continual escalation of violence.

    But of course, society at large must be governed by the rule of law and we need a police force to enact it, etc. But the use of Violence-‘an act of physical force that causes or is intended to cause harm’ was condemned by Christ when Peter struck the High Priest’s slave, cutting off his right ear He said, “Put away your sword,” Jesus then told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword”(Violence)

    Before writing the poem below my initial thought prompting me to write it was, can anyone imagine Jesus Christ carrying a gun, never mind using one, dropping a bomb on civilians/soldiers from an aircraft, or sticking a bayonet into anyone, etc? I think not, as we see His disarming action when we approach Him on The Cross and when/if this disarming action is encountered in a real-life situation, it confronts our own values and for a Christian, it should induce humility.

    “Attach bayonets! courage and glory are the cry, do or die
    First over the Parapet
    John leads the Ferocious attack
    While opposing Hans reciprocates the advance to the death dance
    In a crater of mud both stood
    Eye met eye one must die
    But who would hold true to the Christian creed they both knew?
    ‘To be’ the sign of the Cross,
    To ‘give’ without counting the cost
    Abandon bayonet, bowed head, bending knee, faith/love the other did see
    Worldly values gone the other in humility now holding the same song/pray.

    Two quotes from another poster on another site, in italics.

    “But it (Violence)must sometimes be used in self-defence”

    I am sure that we all would respond and defend a loved one or vulnerable person if they were been attacked and attempt to restrain the attacker within the confines of the law and violence could occur but it would not be premeditated. In English law, if a burglar entered your house and in attempting to restrain him, you killed him, you would not be guilty of murder but if you had kept a machete under the bed to use in the possibility of an attempted break-in and you killed the intruder with it, you would be prosecuted for murder as the occurrence would be premeditated. So yes, our intent is the key.

    “According to you, we must let Hitler get away with his plan since we cannot fight back”

    Jesus tells us that His Kingdom (Values) is not of this world. We are not to be alarmed by wars or rumors of them. And by implication partake in them. Terms such as collateral damage (definition: 1. during a war, the unintentional deaths and injuries of people who are not soldiers.) Are just a cover to justify the premeditated ‘ever-increasing violence of war.

    I personally believe that as Christians we cannot fight back with the weapons of the world for to do so is to contribute to the never-ending ‘increasing’ cycles of injustice within war, leading us further into the “Signs of the End of the Age” see Matt 24:1-28 but we can fight back with His teachings on love/truth/justice that are found within the Gospels when we also recognize/embrace the reality of The Cross (The Way the Truth and the life)

    Quote from another poster on this site “After nearly 2,000 chaotic, planet-destroying years of going our own way (always ‘In His Name’, of course!) isn’t it time, at last, for us to follow Jesus in truth?’

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

    • Addendum to my post above
      A previous posters comment on my post above

      “Not giving Holy Eucharist, a Viaticum, to Christian soldiers, would be more perverse”

      Perverse- definition is – turned away from what is right or good; Corrupt.

      Here are some similar responses to yours in italics given under another article with my responses which demonstrate Perversion definition- alter (something) from its original course, meaning, or state to a distortion or corruption of what was first intended:

      “Is the individual on either side to be denied salvation?

      Salvation comes from serving a lively conscience, reception of the Holy Eucharist should enliven it, as Christians, we serve God first.

      “Only God reads the individual’s hearts. So yes, combatants on either side should be given Communion and the Sacraments”

      Giving the Holy Eucharist to a combatant on both sides just before going into battle is to deaden that man’s conscience in relation to the teachings of Jesus Christ the King of Peace, Love, and Justice.

      “Soldiers are not always able to discern what it is exactly all about”

      Knowing and giving the Holy Eucharist by the ordained ministry is to collude with that ignorance by condoning it, in effect, they are propagating the violence of War between Christians. You may not see this as being perverse, I do.

      “There are many complexities to war. So, the individual combatant is not always aware nor capable of discerning what is actually happening”

      Yes as many complexities (Crimes of violence) are associated with war while combatants and military personnel often say ” We were just following orders” But our Christian faith demands more of us, as our consciences must serve justice.

      “We are not pacifists as other sects are”

      The first recorded conscientious objector was Maximilianus, conscripted into the Roman Army in the year 295, but “told the Proconsul in Numidia that because of his religious convictions he could not serve in the military”. He was executed for this and was later canonized as Saint Maximilian.

      We all walk in our fallen nature, nevertheless, I am sure that throughout the ages many Christians have gone into battle on both sides thinking that they are doing God’s will aided and abetted by a worldly hierarchical church.

      So “Can there be anything more perverse/corrupting than giving the Holy Eucharist to opposing Christian soldiers just before going into battle against each other?”

      I think not, to think otherwise is to hold the teachings of the crucified Christ in contempt.

      kevin your brother
      In Christ

    • Hello brother in Christ, Kevin,
      Jesus, in His ‘Sheep and the Goats’ and ‘Rich man and Lazarus’ parables, tells us that He is going to burn in hell those of His followers who murder their neighbor through lack of charity. I do not hear Jesus telling us how He is going to burn in hell soldiers on either side of ‘Just’ or ‘unjust’ war.

      I figure that a tithe on Pope Francis’ 2 billion Christians would be about a trillion dollars a year. I figure that a trillion dollars a year, from Christ’s followers, would eradicate starvation and poverty in the world. I figure that Christ’s 2 billion Christians only donate 20 or 30 billion dollars a year to keep the poor from dying. I figure that Pope Francis and his 2 billion Christians genocide tens of millions of poor Lazerouses a year, through lack of proper Christian tithing. I think this atrocity of lack of proper Christian, Christ Commanded, tithing, is murdering far more people than people who are killed by secular wars. Don’t you think you should be going after these Christian murders, rather than the secular world, as Jesus did. I do not see where Jesus went after Caesar and his secular wars. I do see where Jesus drastically going after His followers who murder the poor through lack of proper Christian tithing.

      You could actually save some souls by going after those Christian murderers who Jesus actually says He is going to burn in hell.

      P.S. The American Tax payers presently donate one trillion dollars a year to help our domestic poor, and 48 billion dollars in foreign aid per year.

      MATTHEW 25:41 The Judgment of the Nations
      Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

      LUKE 16:19 The Rich Man and Lazarus
      “There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.’ Abraham replied, ‘My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.

      • Thank you, Steven, for your comment “He is going to burn in hell those of His followers who murder their neighbor through lack of charity”

        Lack of charity –An indifference to suffering in your post you rightly point out that more should be done financially for the poor of the world by Christians while many of us fall short in this regard I include myself here. See link


        While Justice demands that Christians should confront injustices that often contribute to the sufferings of the poor resulting from exploitation with all of its different faces. And we Christians do this when we serve the Truth

        ‘God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

        The serving of the Truth should define our actions as the essence of Love is Truth, and those who serve the Truth on the spiritual plain feed the hungry “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” Clothes (Protects) the naked “How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me”. Visit those hearts ensnared ..V.. (Imprisoned) by evil, in setting the captive free.

        The serving of the Truth overlaps onto the worldly plain as it protects the weak and vulnerable from exploitation in opposing oppression, misery, and inhumanity, to serve the Truth is to love one’s neighbor as oneself, it cannot be faked (Manipulated) as it always involves carrying one’s cross. A church for the poor is not enough (although good in itself) as it SIDESTEPS the full spectrum of Truth which confronts evil on both the spiritual plain and worldly plain.

        Lack of charity –An indifference to suffering Are we not all guilty of this to some degree Seven?

        kevin your brother
        In Christ

  2. “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles”

    Jesus Christ lived under the Jackboot of the Roman Empire (Equivalent to the Nazis) and in this teaching, we are given an understanding of how we are to bear ‘witness,’ to injustice, as in yield to it and then by going a step further and expose it for what it is.

    “There is a reason the word martyr literally means “witness,” and there is a reason why the greatest witness to the heart of God was precisely God himself becoming a martyr — accepting death at the hands of the oppressors to overturn not only the system of empire, but also sin, death, and oppression everywhere”. Please consider continuing via the link

    On Going the Extra Mile (And How It Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means) – Red Letter Christians

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

    • Moral depravity, the strict pacifist system is.

      The idea that anyone can say military action, even in defense, is never justified as we watch news reports of Russian warplanes bombing civilians and waging unjust invasions is offensive to justice.

      • Thank you for your comment, Justin “Moral depravity, the strict pacifist system is.
        As Christians we can call out evil in a firm manner but how are we to confront the bully without becoming the bully ourselves as evil begets evil (As violence begets violence) as can be seen in so many injustices within a war.

        In my first post “The teaching by the church on a Just War is nothing more than a minefield with regards to its application of justified murder” In which I believe that I give a balanced understanding of the problems of Just War Theory, for Christians.

        kevin your brother
        In Christ

        • Kevin,
          You are speaking from a theoretical and even fantasy point of view. A warring nation which attacks you unprovoked and seeks the death of your citizens, is no “bully”. This is an evil enemy that must be opposed. A mad-man with nukes or a huge army is not nearly on the same level as a school yard bully. Are you suggesting that the Japanese attack on pearl harbor should have remained unopposed?The same Japanese responsible for the rape of Nanking and the outright murder and starvation and torture of allied POWS? That the German extermination of Jews should have been shrugged off by giving them a stern “talking to” and letting their evil continue unopposed??? You must be kidding. That is not real life. It does not reflect the REALITY that evil does indeed exist and there are men with no moral compass that do not care how many people they murder to achieve their ends. Going cheerfully to my death at the hands of a murdering dictator or evil empire is not an option I will ever choose. Such people must be opposed at every turn. And yes, it is totally appropriate for our soldiers to seek the blessing of God, and communion, before doing so. Peace at any price is not really peace. It is simply cowardly capitulation to evil.

          • Thank you for your comment, LJ A mad-man with nukes or a huge army is not nearly on the same level as a school yard bully

            It was meant as an analogy LJ. Bully- one who is habitually cruel, insulting, or threatening to others who are weaker, smaller, or in some way vulnerable and this trait is often manifest in tyrants and worldly ambitious men, men without consciences who often possess the manipulative power of evil who are then able to influence others to do (Whatever it takes as in the means justifies the end) evil. These men are not madmen but rather corrupt men many of whom are world leaders in politics, commerce, religion etc with their own agendas ..V.. And yes, no one cannot help but feel outraged at the atrocities committed by the Japanese and the German extermination of the Jews with others, etc. While many atrocities emanating from War can be attributed to many nations.

            “Such people must be opposed at every turn”

            Yes, I agree but as Christians we can only do that when we bear witness to Jesus Christ in good conscience a conscience that is guided by the Holy Spirit.

            Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

            As His servants in this world, we are to fight with the spiritual weapon of Truth

            “Don’t think that I have come to bring peace to the world. I have come to bring a sword.” with the spiritual weapon of Truth.

            You say “And yes, it is totally appropriate for our soldiers to seek the blessing of God, and communion, before doing so”

            You say our soldiers which is very nationalistic so do you exclude other Christian soldiers as in the German soldiers who fought in the First World War, as reflected in my poem in my first post above? I would be most grateful for an answer to this question.

            “Peace at any price is not really peace. It is simply cowardly capitulation to evil.

            As a Christian, this capitulation should be understood as a cowardly capitulation to the evil values of the Prince of this world who gives mankind false peace, as it is a peace that realizes upon the ever-increasing capacity or weaponry held in the hands of worldly men (Many without consciences) aided and abetted by ‘Christians’ ..V.. As His true peace is given in our faithfulness to Him via the light of the Holy Spirit which cannot be taken from us.

            This collusion with evil will eventually lead us into the Apocalypse. While ‘The sign of the times’ asks us to reflect deeply on the events unfolding before our eyes and to respond to them ‘One of the apocalyptic signs mentioned in the Gospel is the “dismay of nations.” This is certainly evident today, and unlike many times in the past, we are all personally affected by it’.

            Jesus directs us: “When these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.”

            While many who bore witness to the Truth in the past and now hopefully many again will raise their heads above the safety of the Parapet, so to say, are reflected in Revelation 7:14 And I said to him, “Sir, you are the one who knows.” Then he said to me,

            “These are the ones who died in the great tribulation. They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb and made them white”

            kevin your brother
            In Christ

  3. Hopefully the next Pope will treat the “doctrinal developments” of the Bergoglian Pontificate on such issues as Just War, Communion for the divorced and remarried and other issues by simply consigning them to the bonfire. We need clarity and continuity with Tradition, not confusion.

  4. The basis of Pope Francis’ unconditional pacifism is that, here and now, the use of armed force in defence of an aggressor, who aims to conquer the whole of the territory of a state (political independence), or a part of it (territorial integrity), or in any other manner inconsistent with the purpose of maintaining international peace and security, can never satisfy the condition of proportionality in relation to jus ad bellum.

    I do not agree with Pope Francis’ analysis, for the following reasons. Once aggression has been committed, and just cause been given thereby, that condition imposes military necessity on whatever use (or alternative uses) of armed force is necessary for the defeat of the aggressor.

    What remains of the proportionality criterion is that a fair balance must be struck between the good of peace (which is the highest of earthly goods) and the measure of death and destruction which the acts of the defending belligerent can be expected to unleash – under the law concerning war crimes (jus in bello), the burden of proof is on one who claims that the perpetrator intentionally launched an attack in the certain knowledge that a reasonable man would find the incidental injury or damage to civilians would be clearly excessive when compared to the military advantage expected to be gained from the attack.The defending belligerent cannot, however, be held morally responsible for the devastation, however extreme, which the aggressor could be expected to unleash in escalation.

  5. “We, the educated….”

    Pure elitist regressive psycho-babble.

    Consistent with Pontiff Francis’ Havana Accord with the reptile Kirill, and consistent with Francis’ Secret China Accord with the homicidal reptiles of the Communist-State-Machine-of-China, betraying and abusively ignoring the underground Church in China, and consistent with his spokesman Excellency Sorondo declaring the Chinese—Communist-State the exemplar of Catholic social justice.

    This is what we get when sex abusing Cardinals and Cardinal coverup artists campaign to elect a pontiff.

  6. Pacifists never seem to consider that the only way a pacifist society can survive is if a another society that isn’t pacifist acts to protect it. Reading some of the drivel posted by pacifists on this site makes my brain cells die.

    • Hello Justin,
      I agree with you.

      There was a shooter at a pacifist elementary school. The police came and shot and killed the shooter. I asked, “Who called the police?” The pacifists replied, ‘We did! What kind of monsters do you think we Christian pacifists are!”

      From behind the protection of Swiss Guard snipers, St. Pope John Paul II stated, “Violence is never the answer!”. I say that it is Jesus’ will for the Pope to use even deadly force to protect himself. I am confused about Pope St. John Paul II’s statement, ‘Violence is never the answer!’. The pacifists tell me that Popes do not want Italian police at the Vatican, but there is nothing the Pope can do about it. I tell the pacifists, Vatican City State is its own sovereign nation. If the Pope, who is temporal ruler over the small sovereign nation of Vatican City State, does not want Italian police and Swiss Guards in his country, he can kick them out, and the UN will slam Italy and Switzerland into poverty, with stiff sanctions, if they fail to leave. I know that the pontificate of St. Pope John Paul II had at least two confirmed kills.

      All the streets were empty, except for the 12 guys in suits and dark sunglasses with their big black sedans, when Pope Francis was praying in the streets of Rome during the pandemic.

      Luke 22:36
      “and one who does not have a sword should sell his cloak and buy one.”

      Leviticus 19:16
      …nor shall you stand by idly when your neighbor’s life is at stake. I am the LORD. You shall not hate any of your kindred in your heart. Reprove your neighbor openly so that you do not incur sin because of that person. Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your own people. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.

  7. Jesus says, Luke 22:36 “and one who does not have a sword should sell his cloak and buy one.”

    Jesus Commanded His Apostles, to arm themselves. So a Disciple of Jesus sold the coats of he and his family and bought a sword. While the Disciple was sitting next to his sword drinking tea, a bad guy, with a sword, started attacking his family. One by one the bad guy raped, tortured and murdered the Disciple’s whole family. The Disciple, shivering in the cold with no coat, taking another sip of tea, looked at his dead family and then looked at the sword. Confused, the Disciple began to pray to Jesus, that Jesus give him an understanding or a sign on what Jesus Willed him to do with the sword.

    When I was twenty, a fellow Catholic first told me that the Church had a “Just War Theory”. I was spiritually greatly relieved, because contemplating Jesus Will on when to kill for the protection of the innocent, had become an immense spiritual burden for me in my life. I grew up in the UN Vietnam War and the draft era. All my priests were pacifists and they constantly preached that all wars were evil. I quickly asked my fellow Catholic which wars Jesus Willed me to kill in for the protection of the innocent? My fellow Catholic responded, “Jesus is a Pacifist! Jesus does not want you to ever kill! ‘Just War Theory’ is a Church teaching, not the Will of Jesus!” (a moment of quiet confusion). I then responded, “Why on earth would the Church have a teaching which they themselves believed was in direct opposition to my Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ? My Catholic friend had no response. I have since had the same routine discussion with two Catholic Priests, and others, as well, and the discussions always come to their same conclusion.

    In the 1980’s, from behind the protection of Swiss Guard snipers, St. Pope John Paul II stated, ‘Violence is never the answer!’. This confused me. Then my friend told me the good news. Three days after the assassination attempt on St. Pope John Paul II’s life, the Pope forgave his attacker. Wow! I asked my friend if the Pope had his attacker over to the Vatican for dinner to forgive him? My friend exclaimed, “The Pope forgave his enemy from his heart! The Pope did not let his attacker out of prison! The Pope went to the prison to forgive his attacker!” Now I finally understood Jesus’ Will of forgiveness and using lethal force to protect oneself.

    Had Pope St. Pope John Paul II’s Swiss Guard snipers been able to kill the Pope’s attacker, to justly protect the Pope, then the Pope could have gone to his attacker’s funeral, to forgive the man. The dead attacker’s mother would have liked the Pope’s heartfelt love of neighbor concern.

    God teaches that it is what is in our hearts, when we kill, that means everything, when loving our neighbor as ourselves.

    Leviticus 19:17
    “You shall not bear hatred for your brother in your heart. Though you may have to reprove your fellow man, do not incur sin because of him. Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your fellow countrymen. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” I am the Lord.

  8. Quote from another site “Just War Theory” made much more sense before the invention of weapons of mass destruction which make the killing of non-combatants unavoidable in any conflict”

    Gaudium et Spes #80. Agrees with you

    “Every act of war directed at the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation.’

    To agree with abortion is to carry the guilt of abortion and I am sure that those that do so, will be held accountable before God, may God have mercy on them. To agree with the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima is to carry the guilt of all of the innocents who perished by those who used it and I believe that they also will be held accountable before God, may God have mercy on them. I believe that the atomic bomb now with its big brother the H-bomb is ‘The Abomination of Desolation. May God have mercy on all of us.

    “Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. “For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed. ‘”Then they will begin TO SAY TO THE MOUNTAINS, ‘FALL ON US,’ AND TO THE HILLS, ‘COVER US for if they do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry”

    We are not to weep for Him but weep for our own sins, and the sins of our children, which caused his death; and weep for fear of the miseries we shall bring upon ourselves, if we slight his love, and reject his teachings.

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Pope Francis and pacifism: A perspective from Poland - Catholic World Report | Bible Prophecy In The Daily Headlines
  2. Pope Francis and pacifism: A perspective from Poland – Via Nova Media

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.